Heaven and Earth – Kamasi Washington

July 16, 2018

“You can always say no,” Washington added. “If Trump pushes the nuclear button, the pilot with the missile can say no.”

Jazz has always been radical in its deconstructions of form and forceful assertions of black identity. Washington took pains to note that this album is political music, even at its most oblique, in the sense that it taps into and tries to understand the primal forces that animate our attitudes and choices.

Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album – John Coltrane

July 3, 2018

It is possible to hear conviction and morality in some of the classic quartet’s best-known music—like the devotional A Love Supreme, recorded in late 1964—as clearly as you can hear melody or rhythm…

A fair amount of Coltrane’s music has been released after the fact, but nothing that would seem, from a distance, quite so canonical as Both Directions At Once, which is 90 minutes worth of (mostly) previously unheard recordings made at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on March 6, 1963—the middle of the classic-quartet period.

Please Don’t Be Dead – Fantastic Negrito

June 15, 2018

If you’ve been to a Fantastic Negrito show, you know his catch phrase: “Turn that bullshit, turn it into good shit.” This phrase is synonymous with everything he does musically and outside of the music world, when he’s just another citizen. It refers to how we, as individuals, can overcome struggles, racism, and displacement.

Lost & Found – Jorja Smith

June 8, 2018

Real, fresh and alive, just what we need right now.

“On Lost & Found, Smith is defining her own destiny. In the process, she confirms that she is special and rare, an asker of impossible but necessary questions.” – Pitchfork 

“In her songwriting, Smith’s superpower is to balance the specific struggles of her generation with the messy minutiae of her own life.

Sink – Sudan Archives

May 25, 2018

Violinist and vocalist, Sudan Archives writes, plays, and produces her own music. Drawing inspiration from Sudanese fiddlers, she is self-taught on the violin, and her unique songs also fold in elements of R&B, and experimental electronic music. Her new EP, Sink, is just off-kilter enough to keep it on repeat and we think this might be a top summer jam.

Tell Me How You Really Feel – Courtney Barnett

May 18, 2018

We’re giving long introspective listens to Courtney Barnett’s new LP, Tell Me How You Really Feel. “Barnett excels at exhibiting both compassion and exhaustion at once, not so much masking one emotion with another but asking what it might look like to hold anger and love, fear and empathy, in our hearts in the same time.” – Marissa Lorusso, NPR

Providence Canyon – Brent Cobb

May 11, 2018

For a day at the local swimming hole or a nice Sunday drive to see grandma, we suggest Brent Cobb’s brand new Providence Canyon. “A fitting title, as Cobb’s new album explores themes of geography, with track titles including ‘King of Alabama’ and ‘High in the Country;’ other songs, such as ‘Come Home Soon,’ are meditations on the way in which returning to a familiar landscape can restore a sense of self.” writes Carena Liptak in The Boot.

Good Thing – Leon Bridges

May 4, 2018

Leon Bridges makes a “good thing out of bad news” on his new record, which is light on politics, but as Esquire notes: “It’s not that Bridges doesn’t have his opinions—we’re living in a time of ‘bad leadership’ he says, succinctly, before remarking that we’re also in a time of oversharing when it comes to our vitriolic stances—but it didn’t feel right here.

Sweet Unknown – Erika Wennerstrom

May 2, 2018

We can’t get enough of Erika Wennerstrom’s Sweet Unknown– it’s strong, positive, expansive and upbeat — the perfect jam for a summer road trip.

“When I started writing this record I thought about songs that I’ve been a fan of that have a positive encouraging message. I thought about how maybe the struggles I’ve had at times in my life and with writing could be changed if I could put my energy and message towards others, but what I got was the most self-healing I’ve ever had through the creative process.

Boarding House Reach – Jack White

March 24, 2018

So how does one represent in 2018 as both rock hero and cross-cultural ally? […] Jack White seems to be wrestling with the question on Boarding House Reach – a messy, sprawling, daffy, howling set that sounds spiritually hungry, collectively driven and, instructively, a little bit lost. It’s his strangest record, but per usual, it shows his continued devotion to rock’s dark arts: the tangled cultural roots, “mistake”-enhanced recording traditions, self-righteous fury and fetchingly-deranged megalomania.

Cocoa Sugar – Young Fathers

March 9, 2018

Since the release of their second album in 2015, the world has changed: Brexit, Trump, the rise of Black Lives Matter, identity politics. With movements such as #Grime4Corbyn, and increasingly “woke” pop stars, there has been a sharp increase in musicians speaking out about political matters. Although they don’t consider themselves a political band, Young Fathers have always been outspoken about issues close to them.

What a Time to Be Alive – Superchunk

February 28, 2018

“Music isn’t necessarily going to change what’s happening in the world, but it does make a difference in people’s lives. It gives me a sense of purpose and somewhere to put stuff that’s happening in my head.” – Mac McCaughan of Superchunk. Read the full NY Times article here.

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